Book Review | Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg

Thank you to the lovely Squadpod, Jen and Michael Joseph for sending me a copy of Nobody But Us in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor.
Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student.

Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city.

Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights – and the chance to explore one another’s bodies, away from disapproving eyes.

It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two.

EXCEPT THAT HE’S NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS.

BUT THEN AGAIN, NEITHER IS SHE . . .

Review

Nobody But Us is a compelling, thought provoking novel with an original storyline.

The novel begins with an aftermath scene, and following this begins on ‘Day One’. It’s written with quotes prior to each chapter which I enjoyed as they provided a kind of loose preview as to what might be in store. The novel ends on ‘Day Three’, with a lot happening in the short space between!

The story is told through the alternate perspectives of Ellie and Steven, alongside dated records starting at 28 August. You really get inside both of the characters heads, with their thoughts and feelings on the situation(s). I enjoyed this as it felt like a very rounded overview. They are quite different personalities and their differing viewpoints, whilst being around one another and in the same situation, are fascinating.

You are thrown straight into the action which made me invested from the outset. It starts off as a very normal couple’s weekend away but quickly descends into something that is only marginally different to madness. The revelations just keep coming and it’s truly shocking time and time again!

There are numerous references to the title throughout the book and once you learn what it’s taken from, it makes perfect sense. I liked this touch as it continually bought you back to the reference. I found the backstory to be intriguing, unpredictable and heartfelt. The entirety of the Ellie and Steven’s history, collectively and separately, is shocking but equally quite unsurprising in many ways and saddeningly realistic. A book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

Nobody But Us is out now from Penguin Michael Joseph. You can purchase a copy using the link below and also help support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Blog Tour | That Green Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan

Thank you to the Squadpod and Penguin Michael Joseph for sending me a proof copy of That Green Eyed Girl in exchange for an honest review and to Kallie for the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour.

Synopsis

1955
In an apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers. Dancing behind closed curtains, mixing cocktails for two, they guard their private lives fiercely. Until someone guesses the truth . . .

1975
Twenty years later in the same apartment, Ava Winters is keeping her own secret. Her mother has become erratic, haunted by something Ava doesn’t understand – until one sweltering July morning, she disappears.

Soon after her mother’s departure, Ava receives a parcel. Addressed simply to ‘Apartment 3B’, it contains a photo of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across it.

Ava does not know what it means or who sent it.

But if she can find out then perhaps she’ll discover the answers she is seeking – and meet the woman at the heart of it all . . .

Review

That Green Eyed Girl is a thought-provoking read, filled with bravery, determination and heartbreak.

Told through alternate timelines and viewpoints, I was invested in the story from early on. Through 1955 and 1975 we follow central characters Dovie and Ava. Both very different, not just in age but also in circumstance and situation, but equally wonderful.

Julie Owen Moylan’s descriptions of New York were beautifully written. Having never visited the city, nor endured the time periods, I was thoroughly transported into the 1950s and 1970s from her words alone. She takes you there seemingly effortlessly and her descriptions and vivid detail truly give the effect of being there alongside the characters.

The consistencies between the two timelines were one of my favourite elements within the novel; the familiar settings and objects transported through time. The green post boxes particularly stuck in my mind but there’s also the butterfly necklace and many others.

I felt like I was really invested in both stories from very early on. This was mainly due to both main characters who were brilliant and also very real. They both found themselves involved with controversy, for their times, and I feel as though this really fleshed out their lives. I really felt the struggles and hardships and empathised with the situations. This made them more realistic and I found myself easily rooting for them.

The story is original, interesting, and genuinely emotional. You really ride the waves with your feelings alongside the position of all the characters. The empathy towards the impossible, towards heartbreak and towards sadness is extraordinary and definitely more than I have felt through a book before.

A truly emotional ride that’s worth every minute, That Green Eyed Girl is out now from Penguin Michael Joseph. You can purchase a copy of the book using the link below and also help to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Blog Tour | The Birdcage by Eve Chase

Thank you to Kallie and Penguin Michael Joseph for the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour for The Birdcage and for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Lauren, Kat and Flora are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.

After years of drifting apart, they are unexpectedly summoned to Rock Point, the cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls and Birdcage.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets and electrically charged with the catastrophic events of a summer twenty years before. The day of the total solar eclipse.

It’s the first time they’ve dared return.

When the sisters arrive, it is clear that someone is determined not to let the past lie. Someone who is watching their every move. Who remembers the girls in the painting, and what they did . . .

Set on the rugged Cornish coast, The Birdcage is a twisty, spellbinding novel with unforgettable characters who must piece together their family’s darkest secrets.

Review

The Birdcage is a twisty, fascinating story filled with secrets and stunning scenery.

The novel begins on 7 January 2019 with a brief breaking news story, the chapters then start three days earlier and time jump to 1999. The story is told between the two timelines. The 20 year gap combines present day with a childhood past which I enjoyed learning about side-by-side. Both timelines were interesting and I found them to be realistic.

A chapter is told through the perspective of each half-sister; Lauren, Kat and Flora. Three fairly different girls/women, brought together by Rock Point and their shared Father. The dynamic was captivating and I found the focused chapters provided a lot of background information. From who they were, to their personalities and the way ‘that day’ affected them, you’re given a thorough overview.

Thrown almost straight into the hustle and bustle of Rock Point, I immediately warmed to the house and it’s residents in both timelines. I was itching to know how the story would progress whilst also enjoying the ‘moment’.

The key events occurring on the day of the 1999 eclipse is an original one, something I’ve not read about in fiction before. The fact the ‘big thing’ that the book alludes to happened on such a memorable date adds further intrigue, as it makes you question what it may be right from the blurb.

The running theme and focus on art, paintings, materials and galleries I found absorbing. Having been previously keen on art during my a level’s and beyond I found the whole thing very interesting and some of it definitely took me back. The highly flammable and somewhat dangerous concoction’s that Dad Charlie leaves in his studio leave much to be desired!

The characters were all very realistic, with their flaws and issues. Their family dynamic was interesting and the navigation of each very different person was written well. I didn’t particularly like the characters but I think that may have been the point. I found this added additional curiosity and I wanted to know more about them because of it.

The Cornish setting was described beautifully by Eve Chase. It was easy to imagine the glorious summer days and the eerie, dark nights. Everything felt richly reported and I really enjoyed the unorthodox Finch family and both their Rock Point childhood and reunion.

The multitude of twists which take place in the story are definitely surprising! I had sort of guessed the core one but I was still very much shocked by the details surrounding it. A book filled with surprises, a unique and absorbing read!

The Birdcage is out now from Penguin Michael Joseph. You can purchase a copy using the link below and also help to support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Book Review | The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of The Paris Apartment in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants

A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine. Where nothing goes unseen, and everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest 

There was a murder here last night.
A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.

Who holds the key?

Review

The Paris Apartment is a brilliant, pacey read filled with a plethora of intriguing characters and a wonderful backdrop.

The novel begins with a prologue from Ben, which gets you hooked from the outset. A chapter from Jess follows, as you begin to follow her amateur detective attempts to locate half-brother Ben. It then cycles through with chapters from Sophie, Mimi, Nick and the Concierge. The characters all live in the apartment block, so you hear from each resident. I liked this ‘small town’ dynamic and it felt like a really original ‘locked room’ delivery.

You gain a thorough insight in to each character, their lives and their past through the first person perspective chapters. As with other Lucy Foley novels, the multiple characters make the story and you feel like you’re very central, in the thick of it and truly a part of what’s going on.

The history of Ben’s arrival, his interactions with all the neighbours and the memories up until his disappearance were fascinating. The tit bits of information drip fed through the past kept me interested and I flew through the book eager to know the outcome!

A tangled web of secrets, lies and deceit are wrapped up in the apartment block, which is a really unique, yet believable setting. The comings and goings, the mystery and the intrigue revolve around the people within it’s walls. It’s extremely easy to imagine all of the detail, situations and occurrences due to Foley’s wonderful descriptions and eye for detail.

There are many interspersed French phrases and words right through the novels pages. As well as being a test for me on my somewhat rusty limited French, it was a really nice touch and made the location feel more authentic. The words also serve as a reminder of the whereabouts, just incase you forget!

Every time you think you’ve got something figured out, you realise you haven’t. It’s a constant chasing of clues, following the snippets of information and attempting to understand what’s going on. A breadcrumb trail at it’s finest and a complete whirlwind in true Lucy Foley style. It might just be my favourite book yet!

The Paris Apartment is out now from HarperCollins. You can purchase a copy using the link below and also help to support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Book Review | Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Thank you to HQ for my giveaway win of a proof copy of Rock Paper Scissors.

Synopsis

Ten years of marriage.
Ten years of secrets.
An anniversary they’ll never forget.

Adam and Amelia are spending the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. The remote location is perfect for what they have planned.

But when their romantic trip takes a dark turn, they both start to wonder – can they trust the one they’re with?

Because every couple tells little white lies. Only for Adam and Amelia, the truth is far more dangerous.

Review

Rock Paper Scissors is a captivating and intricate thriller full of twists. It’s remote Scottish location is the metaphorical icing on the cake, adding to the chilling atmosphere.

The story is told through the perspectives of wife and husband Amelia and Adam, interspersed by inanimate objects related primarily to the anniversary traditions, such as Paper and Cotton. These chapters contain dated letters which span the anniversary’s of marriage. They fill in details of years gone by. Alongside the relevant name, each chapter has an image relating to the subject and it’s narrator.

The concept of Adam’s prospagnosia is interesting and I definitely liked getting to learn about something I previously didn’t know even existed. It added both character and additional realism to him.

The topic of marriage and trying a last-ditch attempt to save a failing one is a realistic occurrence. The on and off bickering between the couple is also quite a nice touch as it adds an extra layer to their characters. It also made me feel more invested, like I needed to decide whether I was rooting for them or not!

Right from the beginning there is a creepy atmosphere. The story immediately draws you in with its remote location. Blackwater Chapel is an eerie name, it’s in a secluded location and paired with a horrendous storm make the perfect recipe for thriller. This combination of chapel and storm were the perfect set-up to expect something was imminent, you were simply left guessing what.

Drip feeding of both information and the truth is cleverly done and kept me hooked. I found myself flying through the pages, eagerly awaiting the next reveal. Twist after twist, the final chapters of the novel are mind blowing! A book I definitely won’t forget in a hurry. The best thriller I’ve read in a long time!

Rock Paper Scissors is out now from HQ. You can purchase a copy of the book using the link below and also help to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Monthly Wrap Up | April 2022

Somehow April has been and gone! I really feel like I blinked and missed it. The weather was a pretty mixed bag but the sunshine and glimpses into warmer weather have really got me excited for summer now. Being able to predominately dry my washing outside on the line has been a highlight… You just can’t beat that fresh smell! I’m looking forward to bank holidays, getting outside more without coats and hopefully getting more sleep, but only one of those things is guaranteed!

In terms of reading, April followed the norm of the year so far. I did, however, read some longer and some much shorter books which was nice to mix things up a bit! I took part in four blog tours, read seven books and reviewed four.

What I Read

Six Days by Dani Atkins

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensberg

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter

The Historians by Eavan Boland

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

*Review to follow, I will link to this post as and when it is published on my blog.

Book of the month

My April book of the month is… Welcome to Your Life! I loved how the go-getter attitude of Serena, her ability to put herself first and the general feel-good vibes of the novel. Such a fab read and very wholesome, highly recommend!

Going forward

I have a blog tour and another couple of exciting reads that are published this month. I’m also looking forward to a couple of pre-orders arriving that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for months! Other than that, I think I’ll be browsing my shelf if I get a chance as I enjoyed discovering a few reads that had been lingering there for a while.

As always, a huge thank you to the publishers and authors who provided me with a gifted copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. You’ll find their details tagged in each individual blog post, linked above. 

Until next time,